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Qualcomm To Marry Satellite, Cellular Chips

  • Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Qualcomm

By Rhonda Wickham

Qualcomm is teaming up with SkyTerra’s Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV) and ICO Global Communications to integrate satellite communications into mass-market cellular handsets.

Under the agreement, Qualcomm will integrate satellite and cellular communication technology by developing a satellite protocol and including it in the firmware of select Qualcomm multimode baseband chips. Qualcomm also plans to support the L- and S-Band frequencies, in which MSV and ICO operate, in select RF processors.

In essence, the same mobile chipsets at the heart of wireless devices will let handset makers produce satellite-capable devices at comparable scale and cost.

Satellite phones have long been around serving largely niche markets but have failed to achieve a large market following due to the high cost of handsets and airtime.

According to the participants, this combined chip will allow satellite communications to achieve economies of scale that it has not previously been able to tap into. It also will enable hybrid services and lead to new uses of the mobile satellite bands.

The new chips are expected to be available beginning in 2010. [WirelessWeek]

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